Research Interests:
Arts, Humanities
Pillar / Cluster: Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences


Dr. Nazry Bahrawi specialises in the study of world literature, translation studies as well as Islam and culture between the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Trained in comparative literature, his current research explores the trope of the journey and modernity in Arab and Malay travel fiction (rihla).

Dr. Nazry is also an associate editor of Critical Muslim (Hurst Publishers), a UK-based quarterly of ideas and issues which presents Muslim perspectives on the great debates of our times. An enthusiast of literary translation, Dr. Nazry has translated Nadiputra’s Malay play Lorong Buang Kok (Cokelat: 2012) into English, and was formerly interview editor of the international translation journal Asymptote.

Outside the academia, he has published op-ed commentaries on culture, society and politics in international newspapers, spanning Al Jazeera,The Guardian, South China Morning Post and Today. His broadcast media appearances as a cultural critic include current affairs programmes aired on Al-Jazeera, Channel NewsAsia and Suria.

Key Publications

Peer-Reviewed Essays  

Peer-Reviewed Edited Volume 

Book Chapters

  • “Utopia”. The Encyclopedia of Postcolonial Studies. Eds.: Sangeeta Ray and Henry Schwarz. Wiley-Blackwell: Malden MA, Jan 2016
  • “Multiculturalism”. The Encyclopedia of Postcolonial Studies. Eds.: Sangeeta Ray and Henry Schwarz. Wiley-Blackwell: Malden MA, Jan 2016
  • “Not My Bible’s Keeper: Saramago’s Cain Translates Postsecular Dissent”, Reading the Abrahamic Faiths: Rethinking Religion and LiteratureEds.: Emma Mason and Nazry Bahrawi. London: Bloomsbury, Dec 2014

Non-Refereed Essays

  • “Racialism in the Archipelago”, Critical Muslim (Issue 14): Power. Hurst Publishers: London, Apr 2015
  • “The Devil’s Interpreter: Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd’s Humanistic Hermeneutics”, Critical Muslim (Issue 12): Dangerous Freethinkers. Hurst Publishers: London, Oct 2014
  • “Textual Desires: Islam and Literature in Southeast Asia”, Critical Muslim (Issue 7): Muslim Archipelago. Hurst Publishers: London, Jul 2013
  • “The Andalusi Secular: Enlightenment Ideas in Al-Andalus”, Critical Muslim (Issue 6): Reclaiming Andalusia. Hurst Publishers: London, Apr 2013
  • “Hassan al-Banna, The Pragmatist”Middle East Insights, Middle East Institute-NUS: Singapore, May 2012
  • “Moderate Islam in Southeast Asia and Egypt”, East Asia Forum. Australia National University: Canberra, Australia, Oct 2011

Book Review

Selected Op-ed Commentaries

Interviews and Podcasts


  • PhD in Comparative Literature, University of Warwick (2013)
  • MSc in General and Comparative Literature (distinction), University of Edinburgh (2009)
  • BA (Hon.) in English Language and Literature, SIM University (2007)


  • World literature and literary translation
  • Arabic and Malay literature and thought
  • Literature and theology
  • Utopia and dystopia
  • Secularism and modernity
  • Travel narratives


  • National University of Singapore-Middle East Institute Research Fellowship (Postdoctoral), 2011-2016
  • Muhammadiyah Ibnu Sina Award (for PhD studies), 2010-2011
  • Islamic Religious Council of Singapore Postgraduate Scholarship (for PhD studies), 2009-2010
  • British Chevening Scholarship (for Masters degree), 2008-2009